- The Washington Times - Friday, July 12, 2013

The Obama administration issued a quiet warning to Egypt on Thursday using diplomatic and veiled language: Quit arresting members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or the United States will freeze up aid.

Muslim-Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was toppled from his presidency by Egypt’s military on July 3. Since, Muslim Brotherhood members have been rallying in Cairo, calling for his return to office.

The United States, which backed Mr. Morsi’s presidency, is continuing to provide aid to the nation, but has been watching the chaos, trying to determine the best national security strategy.

Meanwhile, the new military powers have been detaining key members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including the group’s spiritual leader and nine other leading Islamists, accusing them of inciting riots, The Associated Press reported.

The White House advised Egypt’s government to cease and desist.

“The only way this is going to work successfully for the Egyptian people is if all parties are encouraged and allowed to participate and that’s why we’ve made clear that arbitrary arrests are not anything that we can support,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said, AP reported.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki went further: “The arrests we’ve seen, of course, over the past several days targeting specific groups are not in line with the national reconciliation that the interim government and military say they are pursuing. If politicized arrests and detentions continue, it is hard to see how Egypt will move beyond this crisis.”

And, she added, AP reported, that policy heads are considering the arrests as they make their funding decisions.

“We’re looking at what happened last week and how things are certainly handled moving forward,” she said, AP reported. “Those are all factors in our decision-making around our policy as it relates to Egypt.”

The United States provides about $1.5 billion to Egypt, with $1.3 billion in direct support for the military, AP said. The Obama administration hasn’t labeled Mr. Morsi’s ouster a coup, yet. Doing so, by law, would require the aid to cease.

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